April 16, 2023

The Shepherd's Corner

The other day Santy and I took our grandchildren to Target to buy toys because the birthday of one of them happens to be in April.  I noticed their biggest struggle was to say “no” to themselves.  It was obvious that they wanted to purchase more than one toy and had to resist the temptation to grab another one.  In the middle of their fight against the temptation, suddenly one of them asked me to grab another toy.  But before I opened my mouth to tell him, no, he opened his mouth first, “It’s for your house, so when I come to your house, I can play with it.” This time, it was I who couldn’t say no.

How time flies!  From not being able to talk, now not only can they talk but they can also reason—and be mischievous!  And from being unable to comprehend what we said to them, they can now fully understand almost all that we say to them. That is how it is with us and God.  In his book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard explains why God speaks to us in obscure way, “to allow us the room and time we need to respond.”  God does not always “come out and say it”—and as a result, we ought to struggle to understand Him—because in the process of struggling, something wonderful happens, “we grow to the point where we can appropriate and assimilate the content of truth as it becomes clear.”  Obscurity is God’s tool for our growth.

So, whenever we are made to grope in the dark, do not misconstrue God’s intent.  He is not misleading us, much less taking delight in seeing us suffer.  Not at all.  It’s just not the time yet for us to know and to be able to understand it.  We just need to grow a little more. I found that the requirement is the same across the board—that I grow in faith, hope, and love.  When God sees that I trust Him, that I surrender to Him, and that I give myself sacrificially, that is the time He sees me ready to understand what He is trying to tell me.  That is the time I will be amazed at and be grateful for His marvelous work.

Pastor Paul

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